Italian for Art Historians Level 1 (LFA00032L)


Designed for complete beginners, this course has been commissioned by the History of Art Department to enable its students to eventually carry out research in Italian, as well as to maximise the benefits of future trips to Italy. In class, students will have the opportunity to do exercises and reading tasks in pairs or groups with guidance from the tutor.

Students will become familiar with the basics of the language and will start to develop specialist reading skills related to Italian Art alongside basic communication skills. In addition, students will have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge by continuing their studies of Italian language through an LFA Italian language course the following year.

The course is aimed at those with no prior knowledge or formal qualification in Italian language. It is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students (History of Art Department).

Contact time

19 × 2-hour classes plus end-of-year exams (oral and written); groups of up to 15 participants.


To enable Italian ab-initio students to develop language skills particularly relevant to the needs of art historians.


At the end of the course, you will gain:

  • An ability to understand simple extracts from Italian travel guides or websites and passages related to Italian art history. This may include biographies, descriptions and analyses of works of art, catalogue entries and technical information about the properties of works of art and architectural structures;
  • A familiarity with grammatical structures and especially the verb tenses most commonly found in writing;
  • An ability to apply meta skills, such as dictionary skills, ability to recognise cognates, extract key information from passages in Italian and strategies to make sense of more complex texts;
  • Basic communicative skills (speaking & listening) to make the most of future study trips to Italy.

Teaching method

A communicative approach will be used throughout the course with an emphasis on speaking in real-life situations. Material used will be related to the Undergraduate Programme in History of Art. Students will be required to obtain a textbook to support their studies.

Time commitment

Alongside the class, students will be expected to spend around 3-4 hours each week on private study. Work outside class may involve tasks such as online language learning activities on the VLE, completing worksheets or exercises from the textbook, revising work done in class, practising pronunciation and learning vocabulary/grammar.

Evaluation and certification

This course will be subject to end-of-year examinations. An LFA certificate will be awarded to non-credits students.

Taking the course as a degree module

Under the university modularisation scheme, this course can be taken as a 20-credit degree module by undergraduate students.

To choose this module as part of a History of Art degree, please contact the Department of History of Art at

Course fee (if taken on an extracurricular basis): £250 - University of York History of Art undergraduate / postgraduate students